The Difference Between Acid Reflux and Silent Reflux

The difference between acid reflux and silent reflux

Symptoms of acid reflux or silent reflux can make daily life hard to manage. The symptoms ruin the enjoyment of eating and make every day living miserable. Getting through the day with these symptoms is never easy. Unfortunately, men, women and children suffer from both of these types of reflux.

Acid reflux is caused by stomach acid backing up into the esophagus. Often symptoms of acid reflux are heartburn, acid backup in the throat, vomiting, sour taste in the stomach, and queasy stomach. Silent reflux may have no symptoms. But, when it progresses often symptoms are hoarseness, trouble swallowing, post nasal drip, burning throat, sleep apnea, and asthma.

The problem with silent reflux is often it is misdiagnosed because of the symptoms. Heartburn is generally not one of them. Some of the main symptoms of acid reflux are pain in the chest, heartburn, pain increases after meals, and bitter taste in the mouth. Often the symptoms of silent reflux are harder to diagnose because they are not the common acid reflux symptoms.

Acid Reflux

Most acid reflux symptoms are cause by stomach acid from the stomach entering the esophagus. A weak muscle at the base of the esophagus is often the cause of the problem. Other conditions that contribute to acid reflux are hiatal hernia, pregnancy, smoking, medications, being overweight, drinking and too much alcohol.

The doctor will treat acid reflux symptoms with lifestyle and diet changes first. They will often prescribe prescription medications to control the symptoms of acid reflux. This is what regular acid reflux is like. You know that you have it because of the heartburn, sour stomach, and taste of acid in the mouth give it away. Symptoms often are mild to severe depending on the person and the condition. Acid reflux can lead to sleepless nights, waking up with heartburn and nausea, and upset stomach. Treatment is diet, lifestyle changes, medications, or surgery.

Silent Reflux

Silent reflux has many symptoms that don’t seem like reflux. Often patients and doctors don’t know that it is silent reflux. They do not have heartburn or sour stomach but have enough stomach acid to damage the throat, sinuses, and lungs. Only a trained reflux doctor can correctly diagnose silent reflux.

Many doctors that treat silent reflux focus on symptoms, diet and lifestyle. It is a new field called Integrative Aerodigestive Medicine. Often this focus in on the diet and what the patient is eating. The doctor changes the diet and no late night eating is allowed. They must restrict acidic foods and beverages. They should eat plenty of fish, chicken, vegetables and whole grain. and minimize fatty foods. Alkaline water is the beverage of choice for this diet.

Silent reflux often occurs at night when you’re lying down after a meal. It is harder to diagnose because often it does not have heartburn but a host of other symptoms such as trouble breathing, swallowing, coughing, allergies, and hoarseness.

The doctor may order a ph. test and barium swallow to diagnose silent reflux in patients. After testing most patients must modify their diets and take prescription medications to relieve symptoms. Sometime over the counter antacids are used to reduce stomach acid. Often diet is not enough and medications that reduce stomach acid are needed.  

Acid reflux is easy to diagnose and treat because often the symptoms are more noticeable. Silent reflux has many symptoms but often does not seem to be like reflux. When you suffer from symptoms from either illness it time to go to a qualified doctor that knows what is acid reflux and silent reflux is. They can run tests and find treatments to help stop symptoms so your life will be enjoyable again. 

By Joan Russell